Update: California Anti-Hound Bill Falters

California Senate Bill 1221 failed to garner enough support to make it out of the state's Assembly committee on June 26. It's a victory for sportsmen, common sense, and scientific-based management of game animals in the Golden State -- a place where whacked-out politics are the norm and the touchy-feeling, yet unsound, animal-rights public relations machine has set up camp.

The victory is most likely a short-lived reprieve. Like a recurring case of some non-descript STD, the well-funded AR crowd just keeps assaulting the hunting heritage. In fact, the bill could be brought back up for what's essentially a revote within the week.

Upon learning of the loss, Humane Society of the United States president and CEO Wayne Pacelle spewed the typical emotion-filled rhetoric of the AR PR machine and called upon the immense number of California lunatics to flood the voicemail and email of L.A. County Assemblymen Roger Hernandez (626-960-4457 or 916-319-2057) and Mike Gatto (818-558-3043, 916-319-2043, Assemblymember.Gatto@assembly.ca.gov), who abstained from voting, which left the lunatics one vote short of the required seven votes to move the bill forward (feel free to call and thank them, even if you don't live in the state of Left Coast Lunacy).

As Evan Heusinkveld from the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance put it, "[future voting] will all come down to which side is able to generate the most contacts to their Assembly members."

The disheartening part is that Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, who was absent during the vote, is a democrat and is likely to side with the anti-hunting crowd. It's sad that today's politics are so divisive, but that's the state of affairs. If you look at how the assemblymen voted, it was strictly down party lines: democrats sided with the bunny huggers, republicans with hound huggers.

Adding to the uphill battle is the fact that the bill has been "amended," most likely cosmetically in order to garner greater support. U-T San Diego columnist Ed Zieralski, a pro-sportsman outdoorsman with whom I've turkey hunted the deep backwoods of Alabama, reports: "the bill is expected to move forward in amended form after a motion by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-Marin, the committee chair."

The good news is that barring any revote within the week, there are no hearings set for the summer so the next time that animal-rights activists can pressure politicians by threatening negative PR in a gigantic bunny-hugging state will be the fall. Additionally, there are some on the council that are vehement supporters of hunting.Assemblyman Brian Jones told Zieralski: "I believe that U.S. citizens should have the right to enjoy the outdoors as long as they're good stewards of the land."

Wow, common sense in California. There is hope. And, hopefully there are enough assemblymen that understand the situation; if not how ecosystems work, how predator-prey-habitat balances interact, then at least, hopefully, they'll understand the economics of the situation (considering California is so far in the red budget-wise that their ledgers are scribble in taxpayer blood, it's a 50-50 proposition).

As Zieralski wrote: "It was pointed out that if hunting bears and bobcats with hounds is outlawed, only paid government hunters, at taxpayer expense, will be able to use hounds to trap or kill problem bears or bobcats. That's the case presently with the protected mountain lions in California. Only paid hunters or those who file for a depredation permit may kill them. It came down to whether it made more sense to pay for the management of bears and bobcats or allow hunters to continue to pay fees and pay to hunt them with their hounds."